Evidence of Tulips

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IMG_6209So I woke up this morning to another round of snow on the ground. We’d had a thaw, though a colder one than they promised, and then last night, on my way home, I caught the glint of snowflakes in the headlights of a cab.

So much for the warm up.

If there’s snow again, you ask, what’s with the tulips? Well, hypothetical reader, thank you for asking. You always know the perfect question to keep the conversation rolling.

I took this photo at the Chicago Botanic Garden, which, interestingly, is not actually located in Chicago, but in a north suburb. It was last year, and though it was still very chilly — there’s a wind that cuts through the garden on cool day that can ruddy your cheeks and redden your ears — there were the tulips. It didn’t matter what the weather wanted, the tulips decided it was time, and there they were, a whole field of them.

Last winter was much worse than this one. It was colder and snowier and grayer and leached the heat from everywhere until you couldn’t be sure how to be warm.

But it ended.

These flowers are proof that you might not see change while it is happening, you might not sense it. It might not feel like much or as though it’s measurably better than what came before. It can be slow, and plodding, and have to fight the cold as though battling to the end.

But still it comes. The tulips were not deterred, their heads bending as the wind blew across the pond. They didn’t have to feel the spring to know it was spring.

If that could happen after last winter, it will happen again.

Check out  my full-length novels,  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only), and the sequel, Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) which is now available!

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Bloggy Thoughts on Blogging

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Off to a slow start today, and not for any particular reason, either. Just one of those mornings. The noise isn’t unbearable, it’s not especially nice out, not in the way that would be distracting, and it’s not ugly out, at least not yet. No doubt it will be later.

I guess my mind is far and away, off on other things, non-bloggy things, and while I’m trying to reel it back in, it whirs to itself, determined to focus on what it wants.

Fine. Who needs it, anyway?

Blogging is such a funny thing. It’s not a lot of words, not the posts I write, anyway. I know some of you go for more lengthy, and those are fun to read but not really my style to write. It’s just a quick window into what’s going on, into thoughts on writing or reading or the world as a whole.

And yet some days, it’s a challenge to write something. Everything is like that, I suppose; there are times when it seems like the easiest thing in the world to do, and then other times when it’s definitely not.  But I think because blogging, at its core, tends to be personal, how it feels on a day-to-day basis, well, depends on the person.

Very deep. I know. Philosophical gold happening here, all while the whirring part of my brain is telling me it’s time to move on, time to get to the next thing. Doesn’t it know I’m busy here changing the world?

OK, maybe not changing the world. But like every other blogger out there, I am putting something out into the world, something that didn’t exist before, and that’s pretty cool.

Check out  my full-length novels,  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only), and the sequel, Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) which is now available!

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The Unexpected Strikes Again

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20150323_120428So last week, I talked about spring. I was sure it was here, that winter had given up and retreated, grumbling off to its ice cave for another year.

Ha!

If you look at the comments on that spring post, you will see that I was warned that I was taunting the season, waving a pastel-colored flag in a mild breeze. Once again, I am paraphrasing.

No, I was confident.

And then this happened. See that picture over there? Right next to the text? That would be a nice representation of the enthusiastic snowfall we got yesterday. The cleared sidewalks were covered again. The roads were slippery and messy. I looked outside and suddenly we’d gone backward in time.

It’s not supposed to stay, we’re supposed to hit the 60s on Wednesday (the temperature, not the era, which I can see could be confusing, given I’d left you at going backward in time). That’s the embodiment of Chicago weather for you, but for now there’s no escaping the several inches everywhere once again.

It hasn’t stopped the work on my building, though, the hammering going as though there’s a contest among the guys attached to the side of the building by rope and a metal platform. Maybe they’re working on a new form of propulsion, who knows. Maybe that’s what keeps them up here, and, if that is the case, hammer away.

Anyway, the thing is that you can never know exactly what it is, in life, you’re going to get. The weather reports promised us a light dusting of snow; we got a respectable snowfall. But just because it snowed yesterday, it doesn’t mean it’s snowing today. Nope, today it’s bright and sunny.

With a probability of hammers.

Check out  my full-length novels,  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only), and the sequel, Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) which is now available!

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How Do I Spring Clean My Brain?

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Today I am trying to draw from my word reserves, but it seems as though I only have a tangle in my head. Incomplete sentences; incomplete thoughts.

There they are, scattered, fragments, bits, jumbles of parts that don’t feel as though they go together. I need a giant sifter, something that can help sort out the dust that seems to cover everything up there.

My brain needs a spring cleaning.

I wonder how you do that for a brain. It’s not as though you can haul out the vacuum cleaner and get at it through an ear. In fact, I would recommend very strongly against trying this method.

They don’t make brain Swiffers. There is no spray, polish or microfiber that can get in there and clean out all of the crumbs. So what can you do?

There’s meditation, of course, and that’s probably why it was invented, to give the mind a good deep cleaning. And I could give it a shot, only I suspect that within about three minutes, I’ll be deep sleeping instead of deep cleaning.

And that’s the other thing that’s supposed to do it: sleeping. Dreams. They’re supposed to help cleanse the brain of all that unnecessary clutter. Only my dreams themselves have been cluttered lately, brimming with activity, packed with people I’ve never met, crowded with stuff.

I think I need a dream rummage sale.

I wonder how you go about organizing one of those. I mean how do you price things when money in dreams can easily come in units of dragons? How many dragons do I need?

See what I mean about the crowded brain?

Check out  my full-length novels,  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only), and the sequel, Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) which is now available!

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Well, That’s Finished

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Well, I finally got my homework done. And it’s kind of funny to have homework at this point, but I do. And it’s done. So yay.

For anyone who might have missed it, I’m taking a comedy writing class. I finished the first one, and rolled straight into the second. And so far, it’s been fun and interesting.

This week, it was challenging.

I had ideas, but I didn’t like any of them. Nothing really felt right, everything felt kind of off. It was a struggle to sit down and write the thing, and only the deadline looming finally got me going.

Well, that and a different, forgotten idea that I decided to re-purpose. Turned out that it was the right purpose for it all along.

We have comfort zones because they’re, well, comforting. But as a friend reminded me, the whole reason for taking a writing class is to shed the sweatpants, get out from under the fuzzy blanket, and try something different. I’m paraphrasing, but you get the idea.

Does it always feel great when that blast of cold air hits your cozily-warmed skin? Why no, no it doesn’t. But pushing through that discomfort gets you to a new place and a different perspective.

I’m still glad I decided to venture out and try something I haven’t done before, even after an assignment that was a bit of a struggle. I’m allowing other parts of my brain to stretch their legs, and that’s good for both of us. All of us. Whichever.

Then again, there’s always next week. Hmm.

Check out  my full-length novels,  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only), and the sequel, Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) which is now available!

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Could It Possibly, Possibly Be?

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We had one very warm day, and now it’s cooler again, but it seems inescapable: spring is in the air. Except for a few stubborn patches, the snow is gone, a few random piles of black, gritty ice stubbornly holding on, but they know their time is nearly up.

There are blue skies and brown grass, but the grass won’t stay that way for long. I haven’t seen the buds yet in the trees, but they’re coming. You can feel it.

This winter wasn’t as brutal as last winter, as ceaseless, as ready to take your soul and pack it away in the deep freeze. But still it saps you, the continuous cold under bleak clouds.

Spring is about beginnings. It’s about newness, about freshness. Spring is the mud you gather when you get going, the windburned cheeks and numb fingertips you know are a promise of warmth to come. Spring is seeds and tentative flowers and trees alive with crowded beauty.

Spring takes the browns and the beiges and paints the earth alive with color. It lets everything be new. It lets us be new.

Check out  my full-length novels,  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only), and the sequel, Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) which is now available!

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‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’ and Netflix World Domination

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If you haven’t seen it yet, you absolutely, positively must watch “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” Netflix’s newest original gem. It is bright, it is funny, and it is infused with a bubbling hope that we can all use in our lives.

Briefly, (and as I typed ‘briefly,” I realized how insane the rest of this sentence is going to sound), Kimmy is one of a group of women held in an underground bunker for fifteen years, and when she gets free, she decides to start a new life in New York. Starring Ellie Kemper, Tituss Burgess, Carol Kane (!) and Jane Krakowski, the incredible cast is only a fraction of what makes this show amazing. It’s also co-created by Tina Fey, so, you know, it’s got the hilarity baked right in.

While not even harboring a whisper of a lecture, there is an encouraging vibe to “Unbreakable,” the non-judgmental undertone that if Kimmy can dust herself off, time and again, maybe you can as well. It’s a bright show in all senses of the word: it’s intelligent; it’s optimistic, and it’s visually upbeat.

Can you tell I liked it?

I’ve read that Netflix mines its considerable data when creating original content. For example, with “House of Cards,” Netflix knew that users enjoyed the work of both director David Fincher and Kevin Spacey. Using that and viewership data for the original British version, and Netflix knew exactly what it had when it bought it.

I can’t decide if it’s genius or creepy. Maybe a little bit of both. Though Netfix is collecting the data regardless, I suppose we viewers might as well benefit.

The choice to buy “Unbreakable,” no doubt, came from the same wealth of information. Of the shows that Netflix actually produces, there’s only been one, I think, I didn’t like. Does that mean I’m on my way to being placated by the talking screen in my living room? On the doorstep of a Ray Bradbury world?

If I’m being honest, I probably went through the door, got myself a beverage, and found a comfortable seat a long time ago. Instant entertainment has become a way of life so prevalent, children no longer take a car ride without a show or a movie at their disposal.

Sure, Netflix could probably take over the world with its data. But at least it’ll give us great programming while it does it.

Check out  my full-length novels,  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only), and the sequel, Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) which is now available!

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